Berger leads Mickelson, Stricker, Points by three

By Nick MentaJune 11, 2016, 9:53 pm

Thanks to a round of 1-under 69, Daniel Berger will take a three-shot lead over Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker and D.A. Points into the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Here's where things stand through 54 holes in Memphis:

Leaderboard: Berger (-10), Points (-7), Stricker (-7), Mickelson (-7), Seung-Yul Noh (-6), Colt Knost (-6), Brooks Koepka (-6)

What it means: Berger, the 2015 PGA Tour rookie of the year, is in pursuit of his first victory. Up three to start the day, Berger found himself one over through 15 holes before back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17 helped him maintain his three-shot advantage. The 23-year-old was a two-time runner-up last season and has finished in the top 25 in 21 of his 49 career starts. Giving chase will be three PGA Tour veterans in Points, Stricker and Mickelson; the last two have both been on Tour longer than Berger has been alive. Mickelson is in pursuit of his first victory since the 2013 Open Championship and is looking to build momentum for yet another shot at the U.S. Open and the career grand slam. Mickelson will play with Stricker, and Points will join Berger in the final pairing.

Round of the day: Points raced up the leaderboard into a tie for second with a bogey-free 6-under 64, making three birdies on each side. In addition to his third Tour victory, Points is chasing an invite to Royal Troon.

Best of the rest: Stricker, Boo Weekley and Alex Prugh shot 4-under 66. Like Points, the part-time Stricker was bogey-free and is now in line for an Open invite. The 49-year-old last won the 2012 Tournament of Champions.

Biggest disappointment: Tied for third at 5 under for the week through 36 holes, Dustin Johnson fell out of contention with a 3-over 73, making two birdies, three bogeys and a double. Separately, Tom Hoge, who played with Berger in the final group, shot 39 on the back and fell all the way back to 2 under with Johnson.

Shot of the day: Berger followed up a two-putt birdie from the fringe at the par-5 16th with this chip-in for birdie at 17.

Storyline to watch Sunday: The FedEx St. Jude Classic is part of the Open Qualifying Series, which awards invitations to this year’s Open Championship at Royal Troon. The leading four players who finish in the top 12 in Memphis and who are not already qualified will earn invites. Players set to earn those invitations through three rounds are Points, Stricker, Noh and Knost.

Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”